Al-Sadr in Iraq urges followers to end protests after violence | Pro IQRA News

Pro IQRA News Updates.

Baghdad: Prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called on his followers to end protests and leave Baghdad’s Green Zone after clashes killed 22 people and injured more than 200.

In a televised news conference on Tuesday in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, south of the capital Baghdad, al-Sadr apologized to the Iraqi people affected by the violence, stressing that he hoped for peaceful protests “not bullets and bombs”. .

He called on his supporters to “get out in 60 minutes”, including from the sit-in outside parliament, otherwise he “won’t recognize them”.

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Immediately after his speech, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said “it was decided to lift the curfew in Baghdad and the provinces,” according to Xinhua news agency.

An Interior Ministry security source told Xinhua that after his speech, Sadr’s supporters began retreating from the Green Zone, which houses key government offices and some foreign embassies, while armed militias began to gradually disappear from the streets of the capital.

Four rockets were fired at the heavily fortified Green Zone overnight after al-Sadr stepped down on Monday, sparking protests by his supporters that killed up to 22 people and wounded more than 200, the Iraqi military said on Tuesday.

Clashes broke out overnight between Saraya al-Salam, or peacekeeping companies loyal to al-Sadr, and militias believed to be linked to al-Sadr’s opponents from other Shiite parties.

On Monday, al-Sadr’s supporters stormed some of the main government headquarters in the Green Zone after their leader announced he was quitting politics to protest corruption in the country’s political parties.

Political tensions in Iraq have escalated in recent weeks between al-Sadr and his rivals in the Coordination Structure (CF), a group of Shiite parliamentary parties.

On July 30, al-Sadr’s followers stormed the Green Zone and staged open sit-ins in and outside the parliament building, demanding the dissolution of parliament and early elections, which the CF parties reject.

The CF became the largest alliance in Iraq’s parliament after al-Sadr ordered his followers from the Sadrist Movement, the biggest winner of the October 2021 election with 73 seats, out of parliament.

In recent months, ongoing disputes between Shiite parties have prevented the formation of a new Iraqi government, preventing it from electing a new president with a two-thirds majority in the 329-seat parliament required by the constitution.

If elected, the president will appoint a prime minister proposed by the largest alliance in parliament, currently the CF, to form a new government to govern the country for the next four years.

(Except for the headline, the story was unedited by Siasat staff and published from the syndicated feed.)

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